Home Tanzanite Is It Cheaper to Buy Tanzanite in Tanzania?

Is It Cheaper to Buy Tanzanite in Tanzania?

by Madonna

Tanzanite, a mesmerizing gemstone with its rich, deep blue and violet hues, is one of the rarest gemstones on the planet. Discovered in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro in 1967, it remains exclusively found in this small area of Tanzania. Given its geographical exclusivity and growing popularity, many potential buyers wonder whether it is cheaper to purchase tanzanite directly from its country of origin. This article delves into the economic, logistical, and practical considerations involved in buying tanzanite in Tanzania.

The Allure of Tanzanite

Tanzanite’s appeal lies in its unique color, rarity, and the story of its discovery. Unlike many gemstones that are found in multiple locations worldwide, tanzanite is mined only in a small area of northern Tanzania. This exclusivity adds to its value and allure. The gemstone’s vivid blue, often with a hint of violet, is a result of the mineral zoisite being subjected to high temperatures and pressures.


Economic Factors: Price Comparisons

Local Market Prices vs. International Prices

In theory, buying tanzanite in Tanzania should be cheaper due to the absence of export duties, shipping costs, and markups from international retailers. Local miners and dealers sell directly to the market, potentially offering prices significantly lower than those found in jewelry stores abroad. However, several factors can influence the final cost:


Quality and Certification: High-quality tanzanite stones with good color saturation and few inclusions are rare and command higher prices. Certified stones that come with a guarantee of authenticity are often more expensive. In Tanzania, the availability of certified stones can be limited, and non-certified stones might carry the risk of being misrepresented.


Market Demand and Supply: The local Tanzanian market for tanzanite is dynamic, influenced by the presence of tourists and international buyers. Prices can fluctuate based on demand, especially during peak tourist seasons.

Bargaining and Middlemen: In Tanzania, the gemstone trade often involves negotiation. Prices are not always fixed, and skilled bargaining can lead to substantial discounts. Conversely, dealing with multiple middlemen can increase the cost, as each party takes a commission.

Logistical Considerations

Travel and Accommodation Costs

While the price of tanzanite might be lower in Tanzania, potential buyers need to factor in the costs of traveling to and staying in the country. These costs include airfare, accommodation, local transportation, and other travel-related expenses. For some buyers, these additional costs may offset the savings made on the gemstone itself.

Security and Legality

Buying gemstones in a foreign country comes with its own set of risks. Ensuring the legality of the purchase is paramount. Buyers must obtain the necessary export permits to legally bring tanzanite out of Tanzania. This process can be bureaucratic and time-consuming. Additionally, carrying valuable gemstones while traveling can pose security risks, requiring careful planning and precautions.

Understanding Tanzanite Quality

Grading and Certification

Tanzanite is graded based on its color, clarity, cut, and carat weight, often referred to as the “Four Cs.” The finest tanzanite displays a deep, saturated blue with violet undertones. Lesser grades might appear lighter or have more visible inclusions. Certified grading reports from reputable gemological laboratories, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), provide assurance of the stone’s quality.

In Tanzania, not all tanzanite is sold with certification. While uncertified stones can be cheaper, they carry a higher risk of being misrepresented in terms of quality. Buyers should consider the cost and availability of obtaining an independent appraisal and certification.

Cultural and Ethical Considerations

Supporting Local Economies

Purchasing tanzanite directly from Tanzania can contribute positively to the local economy, supporting miners and local businesses. Ethical sourcing practices ensure that miners receive fair wages and work under safe conditions. Buyers interested in ethical consumption should seek out dealers who adhere to fair trade practices.

Environmental Impact

Tanzanite mining, like all forms of mining, has environmental implications. Responsible buyers should consider the environmental practices of the mining operations they are buying from. Opting for stones from mines that adhere to environmental standards helps promote sustainable mining practices.

Practical Tips for Buying Tanzanite in Tanzania

Research and Preparation

Learn About Tanzanite: Familiarize yourself with the Four Cs of tanzanite and understand what makes a stone valuable. This knowledge will empower you to make informed decisions and negotiate better deals.

Identify Reputable Dealers: Look for established dealers with good reputations. Recommendations from previous buyers or gemological associations can be helpful. Visiting the Tanzanite Experience Museum in Arusha can also provide valuable insights and connect you with trusted sources.

Budget Wisely: Consider your total budget, including travel and accommodation costs. Plan for possible additional expenses, such as certification and appraisal fees.

During the Purchase

Examine the Stone Carefully: Inspect the tanzanite under different lighting conditions. Natural daylight is ideal for assessing the true color of the stone. Use a jeweler’s loupe to check for inclusions and imperfections.

Ask for Certification: Whenever possible, purchase certified stones. If a stone is uncertified, negotiate a price that reflects this and plan to get it appraised and certified independently.

Obtain Legal Documentation: Ensure you receive a receipt and any necessary export permits. Verify the legal requirements for bringing gemstones into your home country to avoid potential legal issues.


Buying tanzanite in Tanzania can be economically advantageous, offering the potential for lower prices and the opportunity to select from a wide variety of stones. However, it requires careful consideration of travel expenses, legal requirements, and the risks associated with purchasing gemstones abroad.

For those willing to invest the time and effort, purchasing tanzanite in its country of origin can be a rewarding experience, both financially and culturally. It provides a unique opportunity to connect with the local economy and contribute to ethical sourcing practices. By being well-informed and cautious, buyers can navigate the complexities of the tanzanite market and potentially acquire a beautiful gemstone at a more favorable price than they would find internationally.


You May Also Like


Giacoloredstones is a colored gem portal. The main columns are Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Tourmaline, Aquamarine, Tanzanite, Amethyst, Garnet, Turquoise, Knowledges, News, etc.【Contact us: [email protected]

© 2023 Copyright